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Economic crimes

Economic crimes are property offences which victimize individuals or legal entities through the commission of criminal offences such as theft, fraud and fraud related offences.

The typical economic crimes are:

Reporting an economic crime

To report any type of fraud or theft:

  • call 403-266-1234 (Calgary area)
  • contact the appropriate jurisdiction i.e. the RCMP (outside of Calgary)

Most scams are outside of Calgary. To report these, contact the appropriate jurisdiction or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) for telemarketing, internet or email scams. CAFC is a reporting agency only.

How to prevent becoming a victim

  • Don't give out any personal or financial information over email or the phone. That's very seldom how a legitimate job application works.
  • Never deposit someone else's cheque, or wire money to a person or place you do not personally know and trust. If you receive a cheque in the mail, attached to such a request, assume it's fraudulent.
  • Look carefully at the language of the "offer." Errors in the grammar and spelling of the offer, large and small, can be a tip that the email originated from a country in which English is not the first language. Not all employers from non-English speaking countries are certain fakes, but the detail is common to scammers.
  • Avoid companies that are located outside of the country that only offer foreign mailing addresses and phone numbers.
  • Avoid companies that advertise in unreliable locations such as classifieds, unsolicited emails, unsolicited letters and online websites.
  • Avoid secret/mystery shopper ads that demand money up front for training or signing up, or ones that pay you before completing any work.
  • Avoid ad's that guarantee work without a screening process. Most legitimate providers are looking for something special and screen their applicants.

What to do when you become a victim of an economic crime

  • Collect all the documents relating to the incident: contracts, written agreements and any other paper or digital information.
  • Put together a written statement in chronological order with the following considered:
    • What happened?
    • Where it happened?
    • How it happened?
    • When it happened and, in what sequence?
    • Who was and is involved?
  • If the offender is known to you, call 403-266-1234.
  • If the offender is unknown you may attend a district office to make a report. You must be properly prepared to speak with police or valuable time and leads will be lost. Correctly assemble a concise and organized account of what happened. If you have been caught in the middle, between the con artists and the investors, it can pinpoint the role you played and why.
  • Contact the right agency to report your type of crime. Jurisdiction is based on the type of crime and where the crime took place.

What do when you become a victim of an online use of a fraudulent credit card

If someone uses a fraudulent credit card to buy an item from you through an online sale site, normally you cannot get the item or money back.

The merchant loses the goods or services sold, the payment, the fees for processing the payment, any currency conversion commissions, and the amount of the chargeback penalty.

You can report it or take measures to reduce occurrences such as:

  • Contact the credit card company for use of fraudulent card; and,
  • report it to police for documenting occurrence and file number.

To prevent being "charged back" for fraud transactions, merchants can sign up for services offered by Visa and MasterCard called Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode, under the umbrella term 3-D Secure. This requires consumers to add additional information to confirm a transaction.

By merchants:

  • PAN truncation – not displaying the full number on receipts.
  • Tokenization (data security) – not storing the full number in computer systems.
  • Requesting additional information, such as a PIN, ZIP code, or Card Security Code.

Statistics

In 2008 nearly six in 10 Canadians reported being targeted by mass marketing fraud with losses in Canada estimated at more than $10 billion, with roughly one million people being victims. A 2008 study by McMaster University suggested that 1.7 million Canadians were victims of identity fraud and spent 21 million hours and $150 million to resolve problems associated to that type of fraud.

In 2011 the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received more than 47,000 complaints for a reported loss of more than $65 million. So far in 2012 up to the end of June, the CAFC has received more than 22,000 complaints for a reported loss of more than $35 million. For Alberta only, as of 2012 July, there were more than 1,700 complaints for a reported loss of more than $6 million.